Monday, November 25, 2002

Found on BuzzMachine about that blog conference a little while ago:

Glenn says that weblogs solve the "problem" posed by, the book: that the Internet creates conversation only among people who agree with each other.
Weblogs point joyously to those with whom they disagree.
You have got to be kidding, Glenn. They aren't the refutation or the solution of the problem posed by

they're the embodiment of it.

He suggests a need for a study to see whether webloggers link more often to those with whom they agree or disagree.
I'd actually agree with this, provided that the nature of the link is taken into account, and if this were on a larger scale than simply a few large weblogs. After all, the point is the community as a whole, not a few big or convenient sites.

On the other hand, I do agree with this:
Reynolds says that games are going to have more impact on political life than weblogs. Games like Civilization make assumptions (e.g., appeasement doesn't work) that become rules of life for their players.
I do agree with this, although one of the ways that a good gamer is differentiated from a bad one is recognition of these rules and how to exploit them, and especially how to recognize when the rules have changed from one situation to another. A Tekken player who tries to use his abilities in Virtua Fighter is going to get savagely beaten, because he'll be trying to apply the wrong rules to the wrong situation. Indeed, a situation might arise where a player will think that the rules that apply to one game (a Tekken match) are universally applicable, and will therefore get beaten badly when playing any other fighting game. So it is with, say, trying to say that appeasement's failure during WWII is necessarily applicable to all other situations. There was an empirical study done a little while ago that suggests that appeasement is actually quite effective and that WWII was a historically-specific aberration. (Can't give out a citation; I'll see if I can hunt it down.)

Edit: The problems surrounding diplomacy in "Civilization" is actually one of the big critiques that has been levelled against the game. It is the increasing complexity of the modelling of interconnection- both economic and political- between civilizations that constitutes the biggest improvement in the game from Civ to Civ 2 to Civ 3 and presumably beyond.)

Mayhaps Glenn needs to play some different games.

Another Edit: After rereading and editing this entry, I am damned tempted to explore the political significance of various games. Maybe I'll ask Brad DeLong if I can borrow that precocious kid of his.

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